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Lancaster saleswoman wins her 14th pink car

Beverly Taylor of Lancaster is defined by the car she drives.

When passing through bank or fast-food drive-throughs, she is often asked about the car. Sometimes she puts work samples in the drawer along with payments as a way of saying "thank you" and seeking new business.

At other times, after shopping she will return to her car and find notes wedged underneath the wiper blades of her car with phone numbers and a list of products people want. Or when she is out for a drive, people will speed up or slow down to look at the car and get her attention. She just smiles at them.

It's not the make or model of the car that attracts the attention. It's the color. Pink. Officially "pearlized pink."

Beverly Taylor sells Mary Kay products.

The car sets her apart from Mary Kay dealers. Only 7,300 Mary Kay associates have qualified for cars this year.

What also sets her apart is this is the 14th straight year Taylor has been driving a Mary Kay pink car. She recently picked up a 2011 SRX Crossover from Burns Chevrolet and Cadillac in Rock Hill.

The car is more than transportation or a sales tool for Taylor. The car represents security for her family. A Mary Kay car has been the rock the Taylors have relied upon for years.

Her daughter, Laura, learned to drive in a Mary Kay car. When it came time for Laura and her date to leave for prom, they left in mom's pink Cadillac.

It was in a Mary Kay car that Beverly had a "teaching moment" with her son, Derek.

Derek was 4 at the time. He asked mom what she did to get her car. She explained she had to meet goals to earn the car. She asked him if there was something he wanted. He said Ninja turtle weapons. They devised a set of goals Derek had to meet to earn the weapons.

Derek, now an adult, has been with his mother every time she has picked up a Mary Kay car, including the last time when they arrived at Burns Chevrolet to find a car underneath a shiny tarp in the showroom, surrounded by white and pink balloons.

The car also represents financial security. Mary Kay leases the pink cars and pays 80 percent of the insurance costs. When the tires are about ready to be replaced Taylor said it's usually time to pick up a new car.

Cars, however, were the farthest thing from Taylor's mind when she starting selling Mary Kay in 1989. A first-grade teacher she needed to supplement her family's income. The Taylors needed an additional $55 to pay for day care for her two young children.

She held her first Mary Kay party around her kitchen table. Nine months later she left her teaching job. The self-described "high school wallflower" discovered she loved talking to people.

"I don't consider myself a sales person," Taylor said. "I love makeup. I love people, and I love getting to know people."

Soon she was going to offices to meet people, helping them put on makeup in the restrooms. She even met customers in the hospital - setting up in an unused emergency room where she gave off-duty nurses makeovers.

Taylor is quick to point out her business is more than makeup, it is as much promoting confidence as it is cosmetics. When you look good you feel better, Taylor said.

"Women often lack confidence. When they have confidence, they become better mothers, better wives," she said.

And the beginnings of confidence can come in something as small as a tube of lipstick.

"Lipstick can lift your spirits, make you feel like a million dollars," she said.

Confidence also played a major role in Taylor's success this year. Major back surgery kept her from her business. She had to rely on her Christian faith and her "team" - the 100 people she has brought into Mary Kay - to meet sales goals for the car and other benchmarks.

Her team had more than $400,000 in sales for year, earning Taylor a diamond crusted pin. She displayed the jewelry on her official, 2011 purple Mary Kay outfit on Friday - not everything in Mary Kay comes in pink.

Next year, the car will even come in black. And it won't be a Cadillac.

At the recent Mary Kay convention in Dallas, Taylor and others watched as a black Mustang emerged from a cloud of smoke and fireworks, joining the Mary Kay beauty fleet.

Taylor looked at the Mustang. She liked the Mustang emblem on the door panels. When the door opens they light up Mary Kay pink.

But Taylor said she will stick with the Cadillac.

"It's like sitting on a sofa and going places," she said. "It's so comfortable."